The 2022 Boston Red Sox are in the midst of a massive free fall.
After having a 42-31 record on June 26 and looking like a surefire playoff team, Boston has lost 17 of its last 23 games.
The club has also lost five in a row, and things aren’t going to get any easier anytime soon, as the Red Sox have some difficult games ahead.
As things stand now, Boston has a 48-48 record and is three games back of a playoff spot in the AL Wild Card race.
The Red Sox have fallen to a .500 record for the first time since June 5th pic.twitter.com/0uv5GWP6Wi
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) July 24, 2022
MLB’s new expanded playoff field is certainly helping the Red Sox stay afloat in the postseason picture, but they’re digging themselves a pretty legit hole.
With the August 2 trade deadline rapidly approaching, the next week or so may very well determine whether the Red Sox are buyers or sellers.
A Make-Or-Break Week
The Red Sox have eight games remaining between now and the deadline.
Of those eight games, four will come against the Cleveland Guardians, three will come against the Milwaukee Brewers, and one will come against the Houston Astros.
All three of those teams have winning records.
That’s definitely not great news for the Red Sox, who desperately need to put together a productive week to show Chaim Bloom that the team is good enough to warrant some additions at the deadline.
A series win over the Guardians would certainly be a good place to start, but it’s always tough to win a four-game set.
Anything less than a series win wouldn’t exactly move the needle, however, so Boston should go into it looking to win at least three of four.
After that, the Red Sox will have to deal with a Brewers team that leads its division and has won three straight games.
Those two series against Cleveland and Milwaukee will likely give Bloom a pretty good idea of whether or not the Red Sox still have life this season, but if he still hasn’t made up his mind on August 1 (the day before the deadline), he’ll get one last chance to evaluate his squad when it faces the Astros that night.
The bottom line is that the Red Sox need to be above .500 when the deadline arrives.
If the team has a record of .500 or worse when August 2 gets here, Bloom may decide to punt on the season and make some major changes.
If The Red Sox Do Add At The Deadline, What Will Need To Change For Them To Make The Playoffs?
Even if Boston ends up buying at the deadline, the team is going to have some serious work to do in order to make it to the postseason.
Above all else, there’s one trend that the Red Sox need to break: their poor play against AL East opponents.
Unbelievably, the Red Sox haven’t won a single series against an AL East opponent this season, and they’ve had 12 opportunities to do so.
The team is 0-11-1 against divisional foes.
The Red Sox are now 0-11-1 in series against the AL East this season.
— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) July 23, 2022
With that loss, the Red Sox drop to 12-29 against the AL East this season and still yet to win a division series.
— John Bollman (@JohnBollman11) July 24, 2022
The Red Sox have a ton of games remaining against AL East teams, so if the squad wants to nab a playoff spot, it’s going to have to start winning some of those matchups.
Moreover, if the Red Sox do find themselves in the playoffs, there’s a chance they’ll have to face an AL East team right off the bat.
The team needs to prove to itself that it’s capable of beating other clubs in the division.